DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Soviet Hippies

Soviet Hippies

A life between Lenin and Lennon. The clash between utopias of freedom and utopias of community. Life as a hippie in the Soviet Union was dangerous – no wonder, considering that the flower children were especially hardened criminals. Just imagine: up to ten phone booths per day were looted in Tallinn alone to tune their electric guitars with the valuable electronic parts. Guitar raid! Drugs, rock’n’roll, long hair, naked bodies, sex, peace, psychedelic art, meditation, Batik shirts, shaggy beards.

The Estonian director Terje Toomistu uses a wide and abundant variety of archive material to trace a lifestyle that marked not only the American 1970s but also proliferated in the metropolises of the Soviet Union, even if nobody there understood exactly what the Beatles were actually singing. And today, 40 years later? Some of the Soviet hippies are now old Soviet hippies. The Vietnam War is over – today it’s the Ukraine War. The KGB has ceased to exist – today Putin is in power. And some things are exactly like they used to be: peace, joy, Batik, beards.

Lukas Stern

Nominated for MDR Film Prize
Original Title: Nõukogude hipid
Country: Estonia, Germany, Finland
Year: 2017
Language: English, Estonian, Russian, Ukrainian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 75 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour and B&W
Director: Terje Toomistu
Producer: Liis Lepik, Sarita Sharma, Sami Jahnukainen
Cinematographer: Taavi Arus
Editor: Martin Männik
Animation: Priit Tender
Sound: Indrek Soe, Seppo Vanhatalo
Script: Terje Toomistu

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2017 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.